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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 20, 2022

Registered Sex Offender Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Images of Child Sex Abuse

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A Virginia man was sentenced today to 180 months in prison for possessing images of the sexual abuse of children. 

Ian Andrew Zearley, 40, of Louisa County, pleaded guilty to the charge in July 2021. According to court documents, Zearley committed the offense while on supervised release for a previous conviction for possession of child exploitation materials. Following his prior conviction, law enforcement was monitoring Zearley’s computer usage pursuant to the terms of his supervised release.  During the monitoring, it was discovered that Zearley searched terms consistent with child sexual abuse, including “real hardcore child porn,” and “boys severely whipped and bleeding.” Zearley also authored two stories that described, in graphic detail, the rape and abuse of young boys. 

When law enforcement thereafter searched Zearley’s house, they found, in his basement, business cards stating Zearley was the president of the “Pedophile Associates of America,” electric shock equipment, pepper spray, a ski mask, and pellet gun. Officers also found a list of children’s names, their ages, and how Zearley knew each child. Children’s items, such as diapers, bottles, and toys were also found, and Zearley’s computer contained eight computer-generated images of child sex abuse.

“One of the cornerstone missions of this United States Attorney’s Office is providing a safe haven for our children. Part of that mission is the prosecution of those who repeatedly show themselves to be a danger to children in our community,” United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh said today. “Mr. Zearley was on supervised release when he not only possessed images of the sexual abuse of children, but horrific tools that showed he was on the precipice of effectuating his violent fantasies towards children. I am grateful to the FBI, U.S. Probation Office, and the U.S. Marshals Service for bringing this defendant to justice before he could commit additional harm to our community.”

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh for the Western District of Virginia made the announcement.

The FBI investigated the case with support from the U.S. Probation Office and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Trial Attorney Charles Schmitz of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kate Rumsey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Updated January 20, 2022